Monday Mornings with Madison

Effective Email Marketing in 2014 – Part 3

Email Sender Reputation and Authentication

Email is one of the most popular and effective yet complex and frustrating methods of marketing used today. On the one hand, email marketing is cost effective, instantaneous and has the highest ROI of any type of digital marketing. On the other hand, email deliverability is unreliable and can be technically-challenging. Beyond the basics of good message, good design and email list validity / cleanliness, there are factors involved in the email delivery process that are beyond the sender’s control. That’s because an email does not go in a straight digital line from the sender’s outbox to the recipient’s inbox. Why? Well, it basically boils down to a fundamental flaw in the system. Traditional SMTP (email) servers were never designed to deliver bulk, outbound email. They were designed for individual emails. The primary workaround for bulk email, especially those that involve large lists, is batch deliveries and that causes delays and problems. Continue reading

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Effective Email Marketing in 2014 – Part 2

Improving Email Deliverability

The four letter word in the world of email marketing is SPAM.  No marketer wants its emails to be considered spam.  No company wants to be labeled a spammer.  Certainly no business wants to be blacklisted.  And yet, it is estimated that there is anywhere from 200 billion to upwards of 1.5 trillion spam email messages broadcast daily.  Just exactly what is considered spam email and what isn’t spam?  Email spam — also known as junk email or unsolicited bulk email — involves identical or nearly identical messages sent to numerous recipients via email.  Definitions of spam usually include that the email is 1) is unsolicited, and 2) sent in bulk.  However, based on that, when any company sends an email to all of the contacts in its database (for whom typically it does not have explicit permission to email), that is spam.  Spam email was named after Spam — the luncheon meat — which is considered ubiquitous, unavoidable and (to many) undesirable. Continue reading

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Effective Email Marketing in 2014 – Part 1

Factors That Impact Email Deliverability

Many marketers feel that email marketing has a better return on investment than pay-per-click advertising, content marketing, social media, offline direct marketing, affiliate marketing, online display advertising, and even mobile marketing.  Perhaps that’s because 91% of consumers check their email at least once a day.  It would explain why about two-thirds of in-house corporate marketers rate emails as having “excellent” or “good” ROI..  In fact, it is estimated that email marketing has an ROI of 4,300%.  Even if that percentage is grossly exaggerated, it is hard to deny that emails are an invaluable and cost-effective marketing vehicle for most businesses. Continue reading

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Clean Data is the First Step to Effective Sales and Marketing

What is the biggest source of waste for many businesses?  Few would guess that at many companies it is ineffectual sales and marketing efforts resulting from poor database management.  If the contact information for prospects and customers in a company’s database or CRM system is muddy, missing or just plain wrong, it cannot be used effectively for sales or marketing.  Bad contact data also makes it impossible to effectively service existing clients.  Data quality is crucial to operational and transactional processes within every enterprise and to the reliability of business intelligence and reporting. Continue reading

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How Are Smartphones Revolutionizing Business? – 2

Streamlining Business and Solving Problems

It is a bit hard to believe that the first mobile phone was invented only four decades ago and smartphones have been around for only 22 years. Considering that nearly 80% of all adults in the U.S. are expected to have a smartphone by the end of 2015, practically no other technology in the history of the world can boast such lightning-speed adoption.  For that reason, the future of every business today resides squarely in the palm of the leadership’s hands – figuratively and literally — in how well they embrace and adapt to the world of smartphone users. Continue reading

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How Are SmartPhones Revolutionizing Business? – Part 1

Using SmartPhones to Solve Problems

Chances are that a large portion of the people viewing and reading this eblast are doing so using a smartphone.  Just how many?  The global smartphone audience surpassed the 1 billion mark in 2012.   It’s estimated that, by the end of 2014, the global smartphone audience will total about 1.75 billion, which is nearly 40% of all mobile phone users and close to one-quarter of the world’s population.  In fact, smartphone adoption is expected to continue on a fast-paced trajectory through 2017.  It is projected that nearly 70% of the global population – 5.13 billion people — will have a mobile phone by 2017, over 50% of those will be smartphones. Continue reading

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Sales 2014 – Part 2

The Search for a Customer’s ‘Hot Button’

There are four basic elements that impact whether a sale will close.  First, a salesperson must connect with the prospective client and be able to step into his/her ‘shoes.’  Second, the salesperson must determine the prospect’s needs… the factors that will motivate or drive him/her to listen with the intent of purchasing.  Third, the salesperson needs to understand how much weight the prospective client assigns to the product or service being sold or its benefits or time frame.  Lastly, the salesperson needs to gain the potential client’s trust, projecting credibility while removing doubts. Continue reading

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Sales 2014 – Part One

How the Information Age and Social Revolution are Reshaping Sales

It used to be that most people – even well-educated professionals — knew very little about technical subjects outside their own area of expertise.  There was no easy way to get more information about specialized subjects quickly.  Finance.  Insurance.  Taxes.  Legal issues.  Investments.  Property.  People relied on salespeople and trusted advisors (CPA, financial advisor, attorney, Realtor) for information and guidance on specific matters.   Thanks to the Information Age, that has changed dramatically in the last 20 years.  Thanks to the Internet, mobile devices, tablets and laptops, abundant information is easily accessible about most any business, industry, product, or service at a moment’s notice.   Potential customers can gather a great deal of information (at least the basics) about most anything… and thanks to Amazon, can order scholarly books on practically any topic within seconds.  They can also shop around, find options and compare prices.  Thanks to social media, they can also read reviews by others who have tried a product or service.  Indeed, potential customers today have information.  In fact, they have tons of it. Continue reading

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Customer Service: Sweating the Small Stuff

Many businesses tend to spend much of their time and money acquiring new customers.  In that process, they often overlook their best source of growth, which is not in attracting new customers but rather in retaining and growing their existing customer base.  When businesses are searching for ways to improve their bottom line they would do well to focus their energy on customer retention.  It costs a lot less to keep a customer or get a new customer by word-of-mouth than it is to win a new customer.  Case in point.  A business whose model is based on monthly recurring sales (such as the cell phone, cable or insurance industries) found that historically their customers stayed an average of two-and-a-half years.  Meanwhile, the customer acquisition cost for that business to just breakeven was nearly two years.  If that business were to retain all of its customers by just one additional month on average, it would achieve an additional 3% of annual growth.  If it retained its customer base for four additional months, it would create double-digit growth…. without adding a single customer.  Clearly, keeping a customer even a little longer would be much better for that business than landing a new customer.  That is true for most businesses. Continue reading

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Measure Marketing Effectiveness

At many companies, marketing is seen as a creative, costly — but often vague — process.  Unlike sales, which is viewed as the revenue-generating golden child, or operations, which is seen as the rubber-meets-the-road product or service producer, marketing is perceived to neither make money nor make anything tangible.  In fact, the perception has historically been quite the opposite.  Like IT, marketing efforts have been (and often still are) viewed as ‘grudgingly necessary expenses’.   Owners, Controllers and CFOs from big companies and small are heard to wonder “Why do we need a Social Media Manager anyway?” or dubiously ask “How does blogging generate business?” or sputter incredulously “Do we really need to spend that much to (fill in the blank: print one newsletter… exhibit at a trade show… sponsor one event… air one commercial during the Super Bowl)?!!!” Continue reading

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